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Archive for November, 2008

Some people dread going home for the holidays, running into high school classmates, and just the general 24/7 family time requirement. I am NOT one of those people.

I am, however, a little anxious about my five year high school reunion. No, anxious isn’t the right word. Oddly enough, I loved high school. No horror stories, no mortifying moments. It’s not much of a stretch to say that I would relive those years without changing much of anything. Believe me, I was ready for college when it came, but I can definitely look back without cringing (too much).

I guess I’d call what I’m feeling curiosity. That’s better. When I’ve been home before, I’ve seen the people I want to see. At this reunion, I’ll see everyone else. And I am curious.

I know of at least five girls who are now mommies, and at least four others who are married. Some people have been off traveling, some haven’t left the five mile radius we grew up in. (I swear I’m not judging. Just observing. For serious.) But then again, it’s also only five years since graduation – how much could everyone have changed?

My guess is that it could go a couple ways:

  • 1) I’ll go to the reunion, enjoy the open bar, catch-up with people I haven’t seen in years, and vow to keep better in touch, since I’ll be having so much fun with them.
  • 2) I’ll go to the reunion, enjoy the open bar, leave early with the few people I actually have kept in touch with, and realize there’s a reason it’s been so long since I’ve seen some classmates.

Either way, it’s an open bar and I get to reminisce about (or repeat) being young and stupid.

Who ever said I wasn’t optimistic?

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*Exaggerating? What do you mean, exaggerating?

I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever run on a treadmill – or, really, even thought about it – has had that fear: Dear, God, what if I fall off? What if it goes too fast? What if I hit the emergency stop button by accident? What if…well, you get it.

At the gym once, I was running near a girl who was really picking up the pace. I was impressed, and glanced over every now and then to marvel at how fast she was going. And then it happened. She hit that point where her legs couldn’t keep up with the treadmill, and I heard a slight thud, even through my headphones. When I looked over again, she was hanging on for dear life, while her feet were being dragged off the end of the belt.

I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why she didn’t just let go. There was no getting up from her position. There was no way of hopping back on and pretending she’d just tripped up a bit. But she hung on a little while more. Once she finally detached herself from the treadmill, I laughed to myself a little bit, replaying the image in my head. (Oh come on. Please. She wasn’t hurt, I promise. Just a little embarrassed. I think. At least, I would have been.) But I didn’t want to laugh too loud because, well, karma’s a bitch.treadmill

Fast forward a few years later to last night, when I decided to test my speed on the treadmill. I’m quite the daredevil, obviously. So I gear up; I stretch; I pick out my iPod playlist, and I start running. For all of about a minute (or less), until I’m thrown forward. And the treadmill just shut down. I wish I could say the gym was empty, or that my crash wasn’t too noticeable, but the *thud* of me slamming into the controls was loud enough that the runner next to me paused, checked to see if I was okay, and asked what had happened.

I checked the usual suspects: no, I hadn’t hit the stop button. No, the treadmill hadn’t come unplugged. No, I hadn’t hit the other emergency stop button. What the hell?

And then I saw it. That damn exercise ball. Yeah, you know the really big ones that you can sit on, that really just look like toys? Apparently in the entire sixty seconds I’d been running, that ball had crept over (from about three feet away!), determined to make a fool out of someone, and wedged itself under the machine enough to stop the rotation of the belt.

It’s almost worse than falling, because the odds of an exercise ball getting sucked in by the treadmill belt? Like, a million to one. If that.

So I thanked the guy next to me for his concern, removed the ball all the way to the other side of the gym (and moved the other exercise ball, too, lest we have a repeat), and finally got back on the treadmill, all the while thinking that I was tempting fate.

I also vowed to myself that I would NOT laugh at anyone else who had treadmill issues because now I understand. I’ve been there.

And because I know karma will get me in the end.

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So I attended my very first blogger happy hour, and made it out unscathed. (If I was a recipient of any of the biting that was apparently going on, a) I don’t remember, and b) it didn’t leave a mark. Thank god.) I even came out of my shell enough to introduce myself to some new people – a minor feat, considering how shy I normally am. (And this was in the  beginning of the night, too! Read: very little alcohol.)

In fact, I was on such a roll with being outgoing and social, that when MJ asked me to ask a couple guys next to us if they were bloggers, too, I barely hesitated.

Liebchen: “Excuse me, are you guys here for the happy hour?”

Guy 1: “For what happy hour?”

Liebchen: “Oh, the blogger happy hour.” (Even though I knew at this point it was a no go.)

Guy 2: “Blogging?”

Guy 1: “And isn’t it a little past happy hour at this point?”

Liebchen: “Well, for us it lasts all night.”

I’m not sure exactly what that last line even means, but it sounded good at the time, especially in response to his ill-disguised sneer at “blogging.”

I’m not totally judging him; I used to be a little anti-blog, myself. But things change. And, frankly, from the looks of things Friday night (and the pictures I found on my camera the next day), we were having more fun than them anyway.

P.S. I’m not quite sure I can put up my favorite picture, so for now, check out the ones Arjewtino stole from me. And maybe I’ll add some more later. If you’re lucky.

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Mini-confession time: I absolutely love pick-up lines. I love the terribly cheesy, laugh-out-loud, there’s-no-way-you-can-take-it-seriously kind of lines (which, on occasion, turn into the I-can’t-believe-I-fell-for-that lines…oops). I’ve heard some “good” ones, myself, but also consulted outside experts (aka, my girl friends) to see what’s really being said. We came up with some gems:

(Note: I don’t recommend any of these and cannot vouch for their effectiveness, but they have been used.)

Guy: Is your shirt felt?

Girl: No.

Guy: (rubs the girl’s sleeve) Well now it is.

Wanna come upstairs and play video games?

(at a frat house) I have Smirnoff Ice in my room if you want some.

Guy: Do you know how much a polar bear weighs?

Girl: No, how much?

Guy: I don’t know, but enough to break the ice!

Hi, I play lacrosse.

Wanna go to my room and play Trivial Pursuit? (To be fair, really anything that starts with “Wanna go upstairs/to my place/back to Fort Myer…” is of the same ilk.)

And, my old personal favorite:

(whispered in my ear, like a secret) Girl, going out with me is like going out in the rain – you’re bound to get wet.

Well, damn.

But yes, I said old personal favorite, which would imply that there’s a new favorite line in town:

I can only hope that someone, anyone, uses this at the Blogger Happy Hour tonight.

Major points for making me laugh.

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Everyone has one – at least. That person who’s always down for an adventure (read: stupid, yet super fun, decision), but is also probably most likely to land you in jail. I get to see mine in one week, when I go home for Thanksgiving.

I was talking to Partner in Crime the other morning and she was giving me the update on her life and the goings on in Philly. She told me about the new boyfriend and continued with, “And he has a lot of hot man friends for you! I met one the other day and thought, Ooh, Liebchen would love him!” (God, I love being the token single friend.)

birthday_03
Champ…

Here’s the thing: this isn’t the first time she’s tried to set me up. Actually, it’s so much more than that; she calls it “bringing me presents.”

Years ago, when I was young and foolish, my birthday happened to coincide with Senior Week. You know, that week at the end of high school when parents pretend they don’t know what goes on at the various beach houses their teens have rented. Yeah, my 18th birthday was that week.

We celebrated with a piñata, Mike’s Hard Lemonade (classy, no?), Jäger shots (ouch), and telling everyone we met that I’d been a hostess at Hooters, and now that I was finally 18, I could be a waitress. (Why did people believe that? Who knows. Maybe because I had the shirt – which was a gift from an ex, no less.)

In any case, it was a stellar night and a memorable (mostly) 18th birthday. But according to PIC, it wasn’t over. I had walked back to our house with some other friends, and when she showed up, she had two boys in tow. She pulled me aside as the blond one looked on.

PIC: “Liebchen, look! I brought you a present!

Me: “Um, what do you mean ‘a present’?

PIC: [pointing to the blond] “Him! He’s for you. For your birthday!

Me: “Thanks, but…I’d really rather go to bed.

Poor guy. I’m pretty sure she sent him home after that.

But who knows what she’ll bring me at Thanksgiving.

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I realized recently that I care more about my fantasy football team than I had planned on. I was out at a bar Thursday night, looked up and saw the countdown to the Patriots vs. Jets game, and my gut reaction was: Shit, I forgot to update my roster! (Fortunately, kind of, I’m already in last place in my league. I can’t do any worse!)

fantasy_football_excuses

So, to keep tabs on my players, I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon watching football – specifically, the Eagles vs. the Bengals, but checking in elsewhere. I’m never overly optimistic about my sports teams (fantasy or otherwise), but I thought this game would be all right. While a 5-4 record doesn’t exactly indicate a team to be reckoned with, I thought the Eagles could hold their own against the 1-8 Bengals.

But they couldn’t.

I sat on the edge of my bed, leaning toward the TV, screaming every time McNabb threw an interception. It hurt a little bit. But, you know what? As frustrating as the game was, the running commentary was even more so.

With the game tied up at the end of 4th quarter, one commentator started pulling out statistics regarding the last time an NFL game had ended in a tie. I don’t think I could have cared less at that point. (As a side note: I’ve always wondered who finds all those stats and feeds them to the commentators – and just how many people are working on it at once. I may not have cared about this particular one, but some of them are so obscure, it’s fascinating.) In any case, I would have rather had more obscure statistics than the comment that followed:

What does a tie do for the Eagles? Well, it’s better than a loss, but it’s not as good as a win.

No shit, Sherlock. I’m not even sure where to start with that statement. I almost feel like my intelligence is being insulted. If you want to comment on the effect a tie could have, tell me how it will affect the Eagles’ chances in the NFC East. Give me some sense of what they’ll have to do in the rest of the season, to ensure that this tie doesn’t hurt them too terribly. Or, if it’s something that will ultimately hurt them in the end – tell me that! Don’t sugarcoat it. I’m a big girl; I can take it. I would even prefer something ridiculous like: “The last time an NFC East team ended an afternoon game in a tie on the 3rd Sunday in November, when Mercury was in the 3rd house and the weather was below 50 degrees, they went on to win their division.” (Okay, maybe the stats aren’t quite that ridiculous, but I’m not so far off. Astrology is about the only thing they don’t incorporate – yet.)

Don’t worry. Painfully obvious commentary isn’t enough to make me stop watching football, by any means, but I might just start watching on mute from time to time.

You know, the same way guys watch Britney Spears videos.

*See? I could be an NFL commentator, too!

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My parents, like most, I’m assuming (God, please don’t let it just be mine), absolutely loved messing with my head while I was growing up (in the nicest, most let’s-make-parenting-a-little-more-fun way possible, of course). Considering that they still like to mess with me, this list of “sure-fired ways to lie to/confuse your children” could conceivably grow. But, for now:

1) My parents speak in abbrevs.

No, they don’t LOL, say OMG, or even WTF (although I’m trying to get that one to catch on). They abbreviate, well, anything. It started when my brother and I were little, to keep us from understanding what they were saying. They’d ask each other, “So, are we going to let them watch DQMW with us tonight?” (We always watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as a family – you know, before Jane Seymour was “Kitty Kat.”) So I grew up thinking everyone did that – everyone spoke in abbreviations. Why say the whole name of a TV show, movie, book, friend, place you were going, ANYTHING, when you could just use a couple letters?

My friends? Not amused.

My parents still speak like that. “Sorry, honey. Can’t talk now. GA’s on.” Old habits die hard.

2) They make up words (or change the meaning).

Has anyone ever called you a pita? Probably not (unless it was me). Until high school, I thought that when my parents called me a pita, it was just some word in another language that I didn’t completely understand. I got the gist – they only used it when I was irritating them. When I was being a pain. Or, more specifically, a pain in the ass.

Oh. My. God.

I felt like an idiot for not understanding sooner. And then proceeded to use the word constantly – so useful.

3) It’s not just words – they change whole phrases!

I’ve mentioned “one swell foop,” but what about “61 and a half-dozen others”? Oh, I’m sorry, you don’t know that one? How about the real one: “six of one, a half-dozen of the other”? It makes a little more sense that way when you’re comparing things, no? However, due to parental programming, I still have to think through both responses in my head before speaking. Because when a visiting friend asks, “Well, should I take Route X or Route Y?” and I respond, “Oh, you know, 61 and a half-dozen others,” I just get blank stares.

4) They lie to protect their own secrets.

As a kid, I used to snore. I was self-conscious about it, especially considering my friends would make fun of me after a sleepover. So I asked my mom if she snored. “No, honey, girls don’t snore.” What?! Girls don’t snore? What the hell was wrong with me? My brother’s snoring could wake the dead; I prayed to God I didn’t sound like that. And then, one morning, I walked into my mom’s room and heard her snoring! I distinctly remember shaking her awake: “You were snoring! You told me that girls don’t snore!” She opened her eyes and looked at me: “Oh, yeah. I guess I lied to you.

5) They pretend to be in cahoots with the Easter Bunny (and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy).

Growing up, we spent every Easter at our grandparents’ house, where my brother and I shared a room and plotted as to how to stay up and catch the Easter Bunny in action. Our parents warned us that if we were awake, the Easter Bunny wouldn’t come (same rule applied for Santa Claus – I think it’s pretty universal). We tried every year; fell asleep every year; and, ultimately, there were Easter baskets waiting for us, every year. Except when there weren’t. Except the one morning when we rushed out of our room and there were no baskets, no hidden eggs, no hint that it was anything other than a normal Sunday.

After traipsing upstairs to proclaim this injustice to Mom and Dad, we found our Easter baskets sitting at the foot of their bed! “I guess you two just stayed up so late that the Easter Bunny delivered them here, instead.” I now realize that’s parent-code for: “I was too lazy to bring these downstairs and I knew I could make up something you’d believe.” Well played. I’m taking notes.

On the plus side, some of these tricks have already proven very useful in babysitting. However, the word-based trickery still gets me. But I’m working on it, one step at a time. I know it won’t all happen in one swell foop.

Dammit!

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I was tagged the other week, by the lovely Grammarphile at RED PEN, INC, to list six random things about myself. I’ve been meaning to write it, I have, I’m just such an awesome procrastinator that I never got around to it.

Until now:

1) Let’s start with the nerd alert: I do, at least, one crossword puzzle (and one sudoku) every day. Before I was gainfully employed, I used to do three or four every morning. I like to think it helps build my vocabulary, but I don’t often talk about things like osiers (some willows) or acetylene (welding gas). Maybe that’s just me.

2) My uncle gave me a 22-pound tool kit from Black & Decker for my high school graduation, and I’ll use any excuse to get it out. (I’m the only girl I know who has her own power drill.) Part of the reason I don’t like buying furniture from Ikea is that it’s a) too easy to put together, and b) they provide you with the tools. Where’s the fun in that?

3) I’ve always wanted to ride on the back of a motorcycle. I don’t want to drive one, I just want to ride.

4) Trashy romance novels are my guilty pleasure. Not only are they entertaining in their ridiculousness (every plot, and I use that term loosely, is essentially the same – and each couple gets married in the end), but I get a little dork thrill when I spot typos and other such errors (which is often).

5) I feel naked when I’m not wearing my watch and my necklace.

6) You know the expression, “one fell swoop”? When I was growing up, my parents used to say “one swell foop,” just for kicks. I didn’t know that was wrong until high school, and I still have to check myself any time I say it, lest I embarrass myself. (Stay tuned for more fun “lies” my parents told me, later this week.)

**On another note, now that baseball season’s over (again, yay Phillies!!), I can focus on my Eagles. Although, to be honest, it looks like they could use a little help…

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We had a fire drill at work yesterday. The second one in four days. Before this week, it had been at least five years since I’d had to participate in one. (There was an instance when I thought we had a drill in college, but it turned out to be a real fire. Some girl in the dorm had a slight kitchen disaster. Yikes!)

I noticed, while  trekking down the seven flights of stairs from my office to the street (twice!), that fire drills in the work place are a little different than they were back in school:

1) You can take your time getting out of the building.

In high school, when the fire alarm rang, you were immediately ushered out of the classroom and ordered to leave everything where it was. Nothing was more important than your safety. (That, of course, didn’t stop us from grabbing our phones, bags, etc. before being herded out the door.)

At work, however, the primary goal is NOT to get out the door. The number one priority, as listed in the last weekly update email, is to “log off your computer.” Number two is to “collect personal items if you’re in your office [or cubicle, I suppose].” And then, finally, number three: “go to the nearest emergency exit and descend to the ground floor.” Save yourself – as long as you log off your computer first.

2) No order necessary.

I distinctly remember being told, “Stay in line! If you’re not in line we can’t take attendance and we won’t know who’s here!” We marched (sometimes silently, depending on the teacher) out of the building and stayed in our lines. No talking to friends in other classes. No asking the teacher when it was time to go back in. No shivering because it was winter and you weren’t allowed to stop at your locker before evacuating.

Yesterday? Not only was there no order, but no one cared. Apparently, we’re all adults now (who knew?), which means no more lines and much more chaos. However, we do have one person in the office designated as the fire marshal. She’s supposed to keep track of everyone, make sure we’re all outside and safe, and wear a hideously bright neon vest so that we can find her in a crowd. She did NOT wear the vest.

3) You can actually go back inside, while the fire trucks are still there.

Fire drills in the winter were the worst because, like I said, there were no locker stops on the way out the door. And it always felt like the firemen took their sweet time examining the building and pronouncing it “all clear.” Seriously? We know it’s a drill. You know it’s a drill. It’s not that I want to get back in and take my test, but I’m freezing my ass off out here.

Lucky for us, yesterday wasn’t too bad weather-wise, but with the fire trucks sitting outside, we still weren’t sure when we could go back in the building. Fire Marshal #1 called Fire Marshal #2, as we all stood midway between the potentially burning building and the meeting point we were actually supposed to evacuate to (can you tell how seriously we took the whole thing?), and asked about the status. “Oh, I’m already back in the office – you guys can come back.” Communication is awesome.

One of the similarities between fire drills then and now? When you come back in from one, your productivity is shot to hell.

And don’t worry, with the time it took to log off the computer, I had plenty of time to get my iPod. Gotta have priorities.

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I didn’t intend to post on the election. I don’t know that I can add much to what’s already been said and felt – the pride, the (happy) tears, the elation. On a personal level, this is only the second presidential election I’ve been able to vote in and I was overwhelmed by the intensity and energy that existed in this campaign, right up until the very end (and even still, as people revel in their win). And even though I know that my vote was one of many, and that in the grand scheme of things it may not have made much of a difference, I still feel like it counted. Like Diddy said, “I felt like my vote was the vote that put him into office. It was down to one vote, and that was going to be my vote. And that may not be true, but that’s how much power it felt like I had.”*

But, to be honest, this morning, after the initial, oh-my-god-history-was-made-last-night feeling, I started thinking, Okay, what’s next? What now? And it’s not that I need instant gratification – I don’t. I can be patient (most of the time), and I’m curious to see how Obama follows through on his promises in the long run. But this election has been so long coming that it’s like finishing a marathon, being on a runner’s high, and wondering when you’ll race again.

So I’ve decided to think of these next two months as training. Obama is gearing up for his own personal ultra-marathon – a four year stint (at least) in the White House, with the entire world looking at him to, ultimately, play Mr. Fix-it. No pressure.

And we’re in training, too. We, who helped him get elected, will continue to play a role in this change we’re so eagerly anticipating. That’s what’s next. That’s what’s now. This January 20th will be the sixth Inauguration Day in my lifetime, the third that I’ll actually be paying attention to, and the only one, thus far, that makes me so proud to have voted – and so excited to see what happens next.

*I know, I know – don’t judge me for quoting Diddy.

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